THE RISE OF KUWAIT’S STARTUP ECOSYSTEM
Kuwait’s oil reserves, which amount to more than 100B barrels, account for more than 60% of GDP and 95% of exports and have shaped the country’s economic strength. The oil reserves have ensured robust public finances and funded the development of a substantial welfare system.
Pumping Fuel in Startups
The State is investing in a startupfueled digital economy to diversify its economy away from oil, and to create more private sector jobs for Kuwaitis, the majority of which are currently employed in the government sector. In efforts to expand the private sector, a $7B Kuwait National Fund for SMES was introduced in 2013 focusing on smart capital, education, legal framework, and mindset.
Entrepreneurs require the proper startup ecosystem to nurture and thrive. As apparent in the ecosystem map, the recent growth of the Kuwait startup ecosystem is incredibly exciting and has been extremely evident in the collaborations amongst entrepreneurs, support organizations, and investors.
This was further inspired by the $170 million acquisition of Kuwait’s Talabat.com, a deal that was lauded as a landmark in the region since it was one of the largest regional exits. Berlin-based Rocket Internet acquired the food delivery service platform with 1,300 restaurants and services in the Gulf, in early 2015.